Author: Frank Delaney
Date Read: June 12, 2007
I’m not sure why I am absolutely incapable of writing a succinct review of a book, but I’m going to try try try with this one (ya right).
Although it took a little bit for me to get into this book, I ended up really enjoying it. I think the breaker was when my husband and I took a 3 hour car trip the other day and out of boredom (his, not mine), I read several chapters to him. We both talked about the stories, laughed, and enjoyed.
The plot of the novel is pretty simplistic. A young boy, Ronan O’Mara, meets a traveling storyteller one night and is bewitched by the stories he hears. After the third night (and third story), the storyteller is banished by O’Mara’s mother, but Ronan begins a longwinded search for the elusive traveller. The book ping pongs back and forth between O’Mara’s search/story and random stories of Ireland told by various narrators.
Of the many stories, the reader encounters accounts such as how the harp was invented and how George Fredrick Handel came to write “The Messiah.” But the nice thing about the stories is that they follow a progression of the history of Ireland–beginning with its very formation and ending with more historical accounts of invasion, hardships, battles, and struggles for freedom. Along the journey in the book, the reader also encounters some rather colorful characters (My favorite is Professor Ryle), but I rate this book a B because some of the narrators blend together–I’m not sure their voices are quite as distinct as they should be.
Listen to me rambling on. Recommendation: While the book is lengthy (my copy was 650 pages), the reading flows well and is rather quick. I would recommend this book to those who are interested in Ireland, storytelling, history, and myth. Not the best book I’ve read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
*photo courtesy www.wnyc.org